Centre invites lateral entry at joint secretary-level posts: Here are 10 things to know about ithttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/centre-invites-lateral-entry-at-joint-secretary-level-posts-here-are-10-things-you-need-to-know-5212821/

Centre invites lateral entry at joint secretary-level posts: Here are 10 things to know about it

The Central government has invited applications for joint secretary level positions which are usually filled by officers selected through Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams.

Prime Minister Modi
The Central government has opened up 10 joint secretary level posts through lateral entry. (File)

The central government has announced opening up 10 senior-level bureaucratic posts in several departments through lateral entry to people working in the private sector. The move, which is receiving bouquets and brickbats, will pave the way for participation of private sector professionals in policymaking and implementation of government programmes.

Advertisements published in leading newspapers Sunday stated that the government was looking for 10 “outstanding individuals”, even from the private sector, with expertise in the areas of revenue, financial services, economic affairs, agriculture, cooperation and farmers’ welfare, road transport and highway, shipping, environment, forests and climate change, new and renewable energy, civil aviation and commerce. These positions are usually filled by officers selected through Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams.

What does issuing such a decree of opening up a major post like this for the private sector mean? Here are ten things you should know:

1. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant expressed his appreciation for this move and spoke about how government officials should also be allowed to work with the private sector.

2. If you’re 40 years old and above as on July 1, 2018 and hold a minimum of 15 years of work experience, you can apply depending on your field of interest and expertise which include revenue, financial services, economic affairs, agriculture, cooperation and farmers’ welfare, road transport and highway, shipping, environment, forests and climate change, new and renewable energy, civil aviation and commerce.

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3. People who have been officers with State/UT government, or at a comparable level in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), autonomous bodies, statutory organisations, universities, recognised research institutes as well as private sector companies, consultancy and multinational organisations.

4. Once selected, the person will hold the position for three years, extendable up to five years depending on the performance and will draw a salary as applicable to a joint secretary working at the same level according to Level 14 of the pay matrix.

5. This is not the first of a kind move as the government had already appointed two secretaries on contract- for drinking water and sanitation and Ayush who were recruited in a similar manner. C Chandramouli, secretary (personnel) was referring to Parameswaran Iyer, who took voluntary retirement from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and then returned from the US to head the Narendra Modi government’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission and was last year, appointed secretary in the drinking water and sanitation ministry for two years.

6. The decision received a lot of flak as it allows people from the private sector to be deemed as a public servant for the purpose of CSS (Conduct) Rules.  Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India (CPI-M) leader, called the order an opportunity to include Sanghis in government positions to fill IAS ranks.

7. Congress spokesman P L Punia said lateral entry was a way to “sabotage” the system “so that RSS-BJP and some corporate houses can directly influence the government from the inside”. “Also, the advert says it is open to Indian nationals, whereas usually it is Indian citizens,” Punia had told The Indian Express.

ALSO READ | Govt opens up 10 joint secretary-level posts to private sector, Opposition calls it opportunity for ‘sanghis’

Bihar Leader of Opposition and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said the government had made a joke out of the Constitution.

8. There have been mixed reactions from IAS officers and other government officials, with a few acknowledging it to be a step forward, whereas some called it an indifferent move. Keshav Desiraju, former Secretary to Government of India, told The Indian Express that “lateral entry is a good idea but we must not give up on the advantages various services bring to policymaking and governance.”

9. Countering the opposition’s charges, Minister of State (MoS) in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said the decision to introduce lateral entry to 10 joint secretary posts was an endeavour on part of the government to give every Indian a chance to grow. “It’s an endeavour to get the best from whichever source available. It’s motivated with focus on allowing every Indian citizen a fair chance to ensure their growth depending on their potential,” ANI quoted Singh as saying.

10. Indian netizens took to Twitter to express their opinion that recorded mixed reactions. While some expressed dismay and vented frustration, some were happy about standing an equal chance to assist in policy making and implementation.

The last date for applications is on July 30, 2018 and a separate portal at http://lateral.nic.in has been created through which the applications are being received.